Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
The girls state track and field meet begins Thursday morning at Drake Stadium in Des Moines and concludes on Saturday afternoon.
Action starts on Thursday with Classes 1A and 4A in the morning session before giving way to 2A and 3A for the afternoon showing.
Before the action starts rolling here is a breakdown of the qualifier for each of the area teams.
Individual Events Qualified: Eight (800, 1,500, 3,000, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, long jump, discus, shot put)
Relays Qualified: Four (4x100, 4x800, shuttle hurdle, distance medley)
Athlete to Watch: A three-event champion last season, Bailey Nock will put the finishing touches on a brilliant career as one of the most decorated distance runners in program history this week. Nock will attempt to win back-to-back Class 4A titles in both the 1,500 and 3,000, has the fifth fastest time in 4A in the 800 this season and is the anchor of the West High 4x800 squad with the second fastest time in 4A this spring.
Relay Team to Watch: West High is seeking back-to-back titles in the distance medley after edging Waukee for the title last year.
The team of Katie Severt, Isyss Shaw, Kitra Bell and Deniz Ince posted the fastest time at state qualifying events last week, clocking a 4:10.18 which ranks second in 4A this season.
Outlook: West High posted its first top-two finish and highest point total since winning the state title in 2010 last season and returns to Drake Stadium a legitimate title contender for the second year in a row.
Two-time defending state champion Waukee will again be the favorite but West High possess the firepower to make another state title run.
West High will rely heavily on the distance duo of Nock and junior Deniz Ince. Nock has the top times in both the 1,500 and 3,000 in 4A this season while Ince has the second best 3,000 time and third best time in the 1,500.
Seniors Chandler Haight (shot put, discus) and Kitra Bell (long jump) both enter with top-eight qualifying marks.
Individual Events Qualified: Four (3,000, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, long jump)
Relays Qualified: Seven (4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800, shuttle hurdle, sprint medley, distance medley)
Athlete to Watch: Sophomore Caroline Schaeckenbach will be busy in her state meet debut after qualifying in both the 100 and 400 hurdles.
Schaeckenbach enters with the fourth fastest qualifying time in the 400 hurdles at 1:05.64 and placed seventh at the Drake Relays in her debut on the Drake Stadium blue oval.
Relay Team to Watch: The City High 4x400 team enters with the eighth best qualifying time after Kinsee Brands, Sydney DePrenger, Tiara Green and CeCe Kelly-Harvey teamed up to run a 4:05.45 at the state qualifier.
Outlook: City High should easily surpass the four points it scored last season after qualifying five events with top-eight times.
The Little Hawks have double entries in three of its four individual events and all seven of the Little Hawks qualified relay teams enter with top-14 qualifying times.
The City High shuttle hurdle, distance medley, 4x400 and 4x800 all clocked top-eight times at the state qualifying meets.
Individual Events Qualified: Seven (100, 400, 400 hurdles, high jump, long jump, discus, shot put)
Relays Qualified: Six (4x100, 4x200, 4x400, shuttle hurdle relay, sprint medley relay, distance medley relay)
Athlete to Watch: Erin Kerkhoff has been sixth in the 400 each of the past two seasons but will look to improve on that finish in her third attempt. Kerkhoff enters with the fourth fastest time in 3A at 58.84 this season and will also be a key in the Spartan relays after helping post top six qualifying times in the 4x400 and sprint medley at the district meet.
Relay Team to Watch: A year ago the Spartans finished runner-up in the 4x400 on its way to a school-record time of 3:58.62.
The Spartans have already broken the four-minute mark this season and enter with the second fastest time in 3A this season at 3:59.63.
Outlook: After placing 16th with 14 points a year ago expect Solon to push for a top five spot and contend for some team hardware.
The Spartans have eight events with top-eight qualifying marks and have top-five qualifying performances in five of those.
Senior Emily Troyer owns the second-best toss in 3A this season in the shot put at 41-7 ½ and sophomore Khaylor Fleck has the fourth best long jump at 17-5.
The Spartans’ 4x200 and 4x400 have both clocked top-five times in 3A this season.
Individual Events Qualified: Four (800, 1,500, 3,000, 100 hurdles)
Relays Qualified: One (Shuttle hurdle relay)
Athlete to Watch: Last fall Camille Mac became the first state cross country medalist in Liberty High history and will attempt to add to her history making medal count this week.
Mac enters with the fifth fastest 3,000 time in 3A this season at 10:40.5 and recorded the fourth best qualifying times in the 1,500 and 3,000 at state qualifiers last week and will also compete in the 800.
Relay Team to Watch: The Lightning shuttle hurdle relay team of Elizabeth Davis, Jada Murphy, Breeyn Gryp and individual 100 hurdle qualifier Taylor Cannon enters with the ninth fastest qualifying time after clocking a season-best 1:08.08 at the state qualifying meet.
Outlook: The first state meet for Liberty High has a chance to be a memorable one as the Lightning enter with four qualifiers with top six marks from state qualifying meets.
Mac leads the charge as a three-event qualifier with the fourth-best qualifying mark in both the 1,500 and 3,000. McKenzie Logan enters with third best 3A qualifying time in the 1,500 at 4:59.93 while Taylor Cannon has the sixth best qualifying time in the 100 hurdles at 15.47.
Individual Events Qualified: Four (400, high jump, long jump, discus)
Relays Qualified: One (Sprint medley)
Athlete to Watch: Following a sixth-place finish last year in her state meet debut sophomore Ainsley Schrock returns to Drake Stadium with the goal of discus gold.
Schrock has the third best mark in 3A this season at 127-9 and had the top throw for state qualifying meets last week.
Relay Team to Watch: The Clippers sprint medley squad of Riley Hennes, Andrea Roller, Karsyn Stratton and Cierra Lacina clocked the 18th best time at the state qualifier with a time of 1:54.22.
Outlook: The Clippers took a step forward from last season with five event qualifiers including four individuals.
Karsyn Stratton has the 10th best long jump in 3A this season at 16-10 ½ while Andrea Roller is tied for 16th best in the high jump clearing 5-1.
Cierra Lacina is the lone individual track qualifier and enters with the 12th best qualifying time in the 400.
Individual Events Qualified: Three (100, 400, 400 hurdles)
Relays Qualified: Two (4x100, sprint medley)
Athlete to Watch: Freshman Annie Gahan is a four-event qualifier in her first trip to the blue oval at Drake Stadium.
Gahan qualified in both the 400 and 400 hurdles and helped the Regina 4x100 and sprint medley relay teams earn state meet berths.
The best opportunity for Gahan to earn a medal could be in the 400 where she enters with the eighth-best qualifying time at 1:01.63.
Relay Team to Watch: The same foursome of Jess Hunter, Madeline Adam Jaedynn Evans and Gahan account for both Regal relay entries qualifying in both the 4x100 and sprint medley.
The sprint medley with Gahan on the anchor enters with the 13th best qualifying time after running a 1:54.28 at the state qualifying meet.
Outlook: Evans and Gahan will both be busy for Regina this week. Evans joins Gahan on both relays and qualified in the 100.
The junior enters with the 19th best qualifying mark in the 100 at 13.19.
Individual Events Qualified: One (400 hurdles)
Relays Qualified: Two (Shuttle hurdle relay, 4x400)
Athlete to Watch: Sophomore Jaylen Votroubek is part of all three West Branch qualifying events, running on both state-bound Bear relays while making her individual state meet debut in the 400 hurdles.
Votroubek enters with the fifth-best qualifying time in the 400 hurdles at 1:07.92.
Relay Team to Watch: The shuttle hurdle has become a tradition at West Branch and the Bears will attempt to add to its medal count in the event after finishing 15th last season.
The foursome of Votroubek, Sasha Koenig, Tatum Koenig and Kaiya Luneckas enter with the fifth-best qualifying time at 1:09.03.
Outlook: With Votroubek in the hurdles and its shuttle hurdle team the Bears have a strong chance to come back from Des Moines with some hardware.
West Branch has a history of success in both events after Paige Miller finished third in the 400 hurdles last season and the Bears are seeking their first medal performance in the event since finishing fourth in 2016.